Oklahoma City was blown out in their loss to the Warriors on Monday night. Oklahoma City has to find out the right recipe going forward as the season winds down. Here are some thoughts I had on the loss to Golden State:
THE WARRIORS DON’T RESPECT THE THUNDER
It may be a little bit of a hot take but I don’t think they respect the Thunder. I also don’t know if they respect many teams in the league. The Warriors are the person in school who has all As, star of the sports team and is a major douche to everyone. Yet, when someone is mean back, they’re a whiny baby. That’s who the Golden State Warriors are. It started with their crying about how KD was treated. Then, Curry shoving Semaj Christon. There’s no way in God’s green earth if that was Westbrook, he would have shoved him. Nothing new from the Warriors. Durant went after Jerami Grant. He has no balls to try to get in the face of a real player. Some of this is the respect the they have for the Thunder. They act this way because there is no respect. Curry running off to the locker room after making the three. The trash talking between the two teams, fueled by a Western Conference Finals and the KD transaction.
WHEN RUSS IS OFF, THE THUNDER ARE OFF
Credit the Warriors defense last night, they made almost every shot tough for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook scored his second lowest point total of the season. He only had three assists outside of the opening quarter. Russ then tried to do too much as the lead starting to get away and his turnovers piled up and missed shots did, too. Oklahoma City really cannot afford Bad Russ to show up in big games like this. The Warriors game plan is to make Russ do a lot, and it has worked for three of the four games in the regular season series. The Thunder have to find a way to help Russ against the Warriors.
EMOTIONAL STABILITY IS OPTIONAL VS. THE DUBS
Russ is hyped, everyone is when the Warriors come to town. We understand how and why the Warriors are exponentially better than the Thunder. No one really expects THAT close of a game. However, they’re usually competitive and high tensioned contests. They probably would be a lot closer if the Thunder and Russ could find a way to control their emotions. They come out so high and so tight, the Warriors feed off this and it literally puts you in a hole before the game even starts. Oklahoma City is young and that has something to do with it, but last night, even Taj Gibson was in the middle of it. He missed a sure fire dunk and was off for most of the evening. Cool your jets. Play with some control.
THUNDER REMAIN ON PACE
Despite the loss to the Warriors, Oklahoma City is still in a heated playoff race. They’re sixth in the current standings, tied with the Memphis Grizzlies. Both teams are 40-30. The L.A. Clippers are fifth, they’re 41-29. However, Oklahoma City owns tie breaks over every team ahead of them, so that’s nice. Oklahoma City has the ability if given the situations, they hold every tie breaker. With the Jazz losing to the Pacers and the Clippers beating the Knicks, It’s still close. Oklahoma City is only two games back in the loss column from the Jazz with 12 games to go. If the Jazz go 7-4 down the strech, Oklahoma City would have to go 10-2 to win the division.
HOW WILL THE THUNDER RESPOND?
Oklahoma City doesn’t get embarrassed a lot. In the previous two games against the Warriors, despite facing double-digit deficits every time, the Thunder fought back. They were able to get back into the thick of things. They didn’t really last night. They cut it to 12 for a brief second and then the wheels fell off and the wagon crashed and burned, killing everyone in sight. Now what happens? The Thunder appeared a bit somber in the post game and with the Warrior games being so emotional, how will the Thunder play against the 76ers? Oklahoma City is 2-1 following a loss to the Warriors. They beat the Jazz, in Utah, and the T-Wolves. They were blown out by the Wizards in February. They have to respond well if they’re going to finish the season out strong.